Black Friday Of Poker And The Future Of Online Poker

In April of 2011 the world of online poker changed suddenly and dramatically in what is being called the "Black Friday of Poker". On that day, the United States Department of Justice shut down all of the big offshore operators, leaving millions of people high and dry, not to mention surprised. The case is still being played out in federal courts but for the average internet player, there has been a huge void left behind.

Millions Lost has since paid out all of its former players, but the Black Friday of Poker left hundreds of millions of dollars unpaid when Full Tilt and Absolute went insolvent. The effect of the DOJ action has been more than just denying people the ability engage in this activity: it has left millions of customers high and dry. FTP may be facing class-action lawsuits from jilted players if they lose the federal court battle.


There are some good rumors circulating the internet for interested gamblers and investors alike. First is the rumor that a French company is buying out FTP, which may prompt the feds to allow the site to come back to life in the United States, and maybe even allow former customers to recoup some of their losses. The other good news is that where offshore companies once dominated, Las Vegas brick-and-mortar casinos are filling the void.

Vegas To The Rescue

The casinos and gaming commissions have been lobbying the Nevada state legislature for the right to offer online gambling in the wake of the Black Friday of Poker. The state has launched several studies and is seriously considering allowing the casinos to open on the web. Other state governments are taking notice, watching intensely as Nevada moves forward. If they do, they may come up against stiff opposition from federal lawmakers, and the Nevada movement represents a challenge to federal authority.

Future Outlook

The outlook for Nevada's attempt at moving its casinos to cyberspace is grim. Nevada doesn't have the population base required to keep these sites profitable, and it is unlikely that the feds are going to start to allow the activity any time soon. The best-case scenario would be that the federal government and the casinos reach some type of compromise in which internet gambling will be allowed provided the casinos develop the means to track and report all winnings and transactions. Vegas will have to satisfy the DOJ and IRS that they are competent and trustworthy enough to operate such a lucrative business, and then stick to their integrity, while the feds will need to make sure that they don't impose so many restrictions that people are turned off to the idea completely.

Until that day, however, there are very few options for people looking to make some money with online poker. As the court cases play out, and Nevada makes baby-steps towards challenging federal jurisdiction, people will simply need to watch from the sidelines, and play at the kitchen table with their friends like in the good old days.